Welcome to this week’s investigative roundup, looking at the latest investigations into healthcare topics from around the country. As always, we’d love to hear your ideas for things that could benefit from a little extra inspection. If you have an idea, drop us a line.
About That Novartis/Cohen Deal
One major story drew a lot of attention last week, and for good reason. Pharma giant Novartis was found to have paid a shell corporation run by President Trump’s embattled lawyer/”fixer,” Michael Cohen.
STAT News had a pretty good summation of the issues at hand: A Novartis unit made four payments of about $100,000 apiece to “Essential Consultants,” a company run by Cohen. Novartis doesn’t at all deny the claims. In a statement, the company said, it entered an agreement in February 2017, “shortly after the election of President Trump, focused on U.S. healthcare policy matters. The terms were consistent with the market. The agreement expired in February 2018.”
Novartis is based in Switzerland. The company spent much of last year wrapped up in a bribery scandal with Greece.
Alcohol Withdrawal Death… While in State Care?
A 37-year-old woman died from alcohol withdrawal while at a state psychiatric hospital in South Dakota, a place that had no business taking on a patient in such a state.
An investigation by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader found that the policies of the Human Services Center in Yankton should have led to Anne Elizabeth White’ transfer to another hospital for treatment. Previous work by the newspaper has found the hospital suffers from high turnover and other problems.
Florida’s Medical Marijuana System: “It’s Like the Wild West”
Florida’s medical marijuana push has had an unintended consequence. Some 20% of physicians who are allowed to prescribe marijuana have some sort of blemish on their record, The